"Deal is possible on Monday" – South African President

JOHANNESBURG – President Kgalema Motlanthe and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki are expected in Harare tomorrow as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leadership seeking a solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis.\r\n

The country’s main political parties are deadlocked over sharing of cabinet posts in a proposed unity government.

SADC Executive Secretary Thomas Salomao is in town, and so is South Africa’s Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma. It’s an advance team ahead of the highly awaited SADC troika meeting set to begin tomorrow.

Analysts believe a deal is possible if SADC leaders exert enough pressure on the political rivals.

“Now that SADC leaders are coming, I believe they will be forced to come to an agreement. It is unlike the previous meetings when there was just Thabo Mbeki. They are likely to be forced to swallow their pride,” says political analyst McDonald Lewanika.

The extent of the differences is unclear. The Movement for Democratic Change says there’s no agreement on over more than 10 ministries. On the other hand, Zanu-PF is downplaying it, saying it’s just the Home Affairs portfolio that’s in dispute.

Motlanthe hopeful of deal
Motlanthe says a deal in Zimbabwe is possible tomorrow. Speaking from Benin where he was attending a summit, the President also believes the money allocated by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel last week to assist Zimbabwe is justified.

After two days of discussions on various African issues, the continent now has its eyes on tomorrow’s SADC summit in Harare. This time round there’s a lot more optimism after talks were abandoned after the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai failed to turn up in Swaziland.

Government came in for some criticism for having set aside an amount of R300 million to assist Zimbabwe, but the Motlanthe believes it will encourage the international community to do likewise.

During the Benin summit, leaders also took a decision to call an urgent meeting of African finance ministers. They will develop a common position on the global financial crisis that will be agreed on ahead of the G20 meeting called by US President George Bush in two weeks. Sabcnews